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A photo of a sign saying 'Vote' with an arrow on a pole.
hjl // Flickr

While going to the ballot box on Election Day is an important ritual for many voters, the coronavirus pandemic has introduced a change in routine. As of Tuesday, Sept. 28, the North Carolina State Board of Elections has received more than a million absentee ballot requests. At this time in 2016, the Board of Elections had received just over 100,000. While some voters hope to stay healthy by avoiding the polls, mail-in voting still presents some anxiety and uncertainty, especially for historically disenfranchised voters like African Americans and Latinos.

UFOs circle a human brain in a 60s paperback illustration
Sam Peffer

Evidence matters little in the case of UFOs. In the U.S., 45% of people believe UFOs exist and have visited Earth, according to a 2020 Ipsos poll. Yet those pushing for government transparency and scientific inquiry often face ridicule. How can a belief so widespread be marginalized at the same time?


Follow NPR's live coverage of the first 2020 presidential election debate, including fact-checking and analysis.

President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden are in Cleveland for the event, moderated by Chris Wallace of Fox News.

The debate is expected to begin at 9 p.m.

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Granville County is a swing county in a swing state. In 2008 and 2012, voters there went for Barack Obama by healthy margins. But the county flipped in 2016, going for Trump by two percentage points.

Meet some Granville County residents and see how they're planning to vote this November:

Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., speaks at Shaw University during a campaign visit in Raleigh, N.C., Monday, Sept. 28, 2020.
Gerry Broome / AP

Kamala Harris urged voters on Monday not to be discouraged by Republican efforts to fill a Supreme Court seat before the election, charging it's the GOP's goal to make people feel like their votes don't matter.

A woman speaks into a microphone at a protest
Courtesy of Dawn Blagrove

Dawn Blagrove identified her life's work at an early age. As a young girl growing up in 1970s segregated Milwaukee, she read Sam Greenlee's novel "The Spook Who Sat By The Door." It tells the story of a Black CIA operative who goes undercover within the system and takes what he learned back to his Chicago neighborhood to help young people start a revolution. 

Lightweight coal combustion byproducts could be seen Friday, Friday, Sept. 21, 2018 floating on the top of a lake near Wilmington, N.C., and entering the Cape Fear River.
Duke Energy

Nearly 50 years ago, a power company received permission from North Carolina to build a reservoir by damming a creek near the coastal city of Wilmington. It would provide a source of steam to generate electricity and a place to cool hot water from an adjacent coal-fired plant.

President Donald Trump speaks on stage during the first day of the Republican National Committee convention, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Charlotte.
Evan Vucci / AP

President Donald Trump's campaign committee and the Republican National Committee sued Saturday to block North Carolina election officials from enforcing rule changes that could boost the number of ballots counted in the presidential battleground state.

A Black Lives Matter billboard that Kerwin Pittman had placed on Tryon Road in Raleigh's Southside for one month. This is the second Black Lives Matter billboard in a campaign he plans to take statewide.
Kate Medley / For WUNC

Raleigh police arrested 12 people during protest activity in the capitol city Saturday night.

Pro-Trump caravan participants drive past counter-protesters holding 'Black Lives Matter' signs in downtown Hillsborough on Sat., Sept., 26, 2020.
Mitchell Northam / WUNC

The Orange County Republican Party hosted a 'Trump Train' Saturday to show support for President Donald Trump and other North Carolina Republicans on the ballot this November. The caravan began in Hillsborough and made its way to Mebane, before looping back to the organization’s headquarters in Hillsborough.

Noah Fortson / NPR

President Trump is announcing his nominee to replace Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died on Sept. 18.

Watch the announcement live starting at 5 p.m.

With the 2020 U.S. census deadline approaching, North Carolina lags behind its Southern neighbors in its count. Only about 62% of households in the state have responded to the census, and experts say at least 400,000 more households need to be counted to get the most accurate response.

Host Leoneda Inge talks with Stacey Carless, executive director of the N.C. Counts Coalition, about the influence of the census on federal funding and political representation. Leoneda also speaks with Melissa Nobles, political science professor and dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, about the history of racial categorization with the census.

Plus, how the cultural legacy of late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg calls up thoughts of ways other powerful women in political history have fashionably navigated American democracy.


Board of Elections absentee north carolina vote
Gerry Broome / AP

Ken Raymond and David Black suddenly resigned from the North Carolina State Board of Elections late Wednesday claiming they were misled about a proposed settlement of lawsuits over absentee voting rules. It was an abrupt turnaround from the unanimous vote the two members joined just days earlier in a closed session of the elections board.

Concertina wire surrounding a prison
Kate Ter Harr / Flickr Creative Commons

The North Carolina Supreme Court ruled on Friday that three death row inmates will have their sentences reduced to life in prison through the state's now-defunct Racial Justice Act.

A statue on the ground with yellow caution tape and a cone on it.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

Months into a global pandemic, a loud cry for racial justice erupted around the country and the world. Protesters took to the streets demanding an end to police brutality and systemic racism and repeatedly echoed the names of three recently-killed Black Americans: George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.

U.S. Capitol
Liam James Doyle / NPR

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is being remembered in a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol on Friday, where she will lie in state in Statuary Hall.

Cole del Charco / WUNC

Camp Kanata, a YMCA overnight camp, would normally be empty during the week this time of the year. Instead, the camp outside the town of Wake Forest has been transformed. 

Board of Elections absentee north carolina vote
Gerry Broome / AP

It didn't take long for a GOP candidate to exploit the resignations of the two Republican members of North Carolina's State Board of Elections.

Patrick Semansky / AP Photo

Updated at 6:55 p.m.

More than three-and-a-half years into his presidency and 40 days from an election, President Donald Trump on Thursday launched what aides termed a “vision” for health care heavy on unfulfilled aspirations.

wileydoc / Flickr

North Carolina State University announced a return to in-person classes and on-campus living for the spring semester yesterday. The school closed in late August after a rise in COVID-19 cases. School reopenings led to spikes in cases across the country, according to a new study co-authored by two North Carolina-based professors — as many as 3,000 cases per day. 

Parental advisory labels date back to the 1980s. They exist, in part, to alert consumers to the presence of profanity, explicit discussion of sex and sexuality and graphic violence. But there has never been a unilateral ranking system to determine what content must be labeled as explicit. 

Durham-based musician A.yoni Jeffries understands discouragement. Her latest album, “Potential Gon’ Pay,” was delayed three times this year. But the 25-year-old never stays discouraged for long. In the interim, while she awaited a new release date, she focused her attention on a new endeavor, Handèwa Farms, which she launched in December 2019 with eight partners. 

Boxes of absentee ballot requests sit at the Durham County Board of Elections office in Durham, N.C. on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020.
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

The two Republican members of North Carolina's state elections board have resigned after signing off on a legal settlement to alter absentee ballot rules for this fall.

Charles Jacocks, rear, along with his wife Carrie and incoming freshman Ann Grace, right, carry their belongings as college students begin moving in for the fall semester at N.C. State University in Raleigh, N.C., Friday, July 31, 2020.
Gerry Broome / AP

A new study links college reopenings to spikes in COVID-19 cases across the country. The study is co-authored by UNC Greensboro economics professor Martin Andersen, Davidson College education professor Chris Marsicano and others. Marsicano is also the Director of the College Crisis Initiative.

Anita knows how frustrating it can be to find the right doctor and get good healthcare. Transgender people have to navigate all those challenges and take extra measures to advocate for their wellbeing with medical providers who are too often untrained to treat them.

Want to support this podcast? Subscribe on your favorite audio app, leave a review on Apple Podcasts, join the conversation at #EmbodiedWUNC or give to WUNC.


In this image provided by C-SPAN, Allison Jones Rushing speaks during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee to be a judge on the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on Capitol Hill in Washington, on March 21, 2019.
C-SPAN via AP

Called both a legal "rock star" by Republican senators and an "ideological extremist" by critics, Allison Jones Rushing had already landed what most lawyers would consider a career-defining position before turning 40. But the Trump administration may have even bigger plans.

Flicker/David Geitgey Sierralupe

There are still very few answers about what led to the police killing of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky earlier this year. Police officers battered their way into Taylor’s apartment, serving a "no-knock" warrant, and shot Taylor five times. As the FBI and Kentucky state officials continue to investigate the death, a new documentary from The New York Times Presents digs into official reports and documents to piece together what went wrong. "The Killing of Breonna Taylor" also paints a picture of who she was as a person through interviews with Taylor’s friends and family.  Host Frank Stasio talks about the story with popular culture experts Natalie Bullock Brown and Mark Anthony Neal for #BackChannel, our recurring series connecting culture and context. 

North Carolina has 13 congressional districts, though only one race is likely to be particularly close this fall. After a judicial panel determined the old map illegally favored Republicans and the boundaries were redrawn last year, the 8th District is now a competitive outlier.

On this episode of the Politics Podcast, host Jeff Tiberii talks with Chris Cronin, political science professor at Methodist University, about the impact voters in Fayetteville could have on the outcome in the 8th District race. And we hear from Patricia Timmons-Goodson, the Democratic nominee challenging Republican incumbent Rep. Richard Hudson.
 


Workers at the Durham County Board of Elections process absentee ballot requests while maintaining safety during the coronavirus pandemic in Durham, N.C. on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020.
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

North Carolina election officials agreed Tuesday that mail-in absentee ballots returned this fall with deficient information can be fixed without forcing the voter to fill out a new blank ballot. The change, if it stands, would likely yield an upward tick in the number of counted ballots in this presidential battleground state.

The U.S. Senate is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 27, 2017, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. faces challenges within his own party this week in advancing the Republican health care bill.
J. Scott Applewhite / AP

 

Members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force are briefing a Senate panel on the federal response to the pandemic. Witnesses include Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health and CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield.

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